On Friday we saw the best and the very worst.
We cannot let the despicable atrocity in Christchurch divert us from acknowledging what is good and great in our society. There is an underbelly of racism in New Zealand and hopefully the terrible events in Christchurch will be the catalyst for all of us to call it out wherever we experience it. We’re also going to see long overdue major reform of our gun and surveillance laws. But there is so much that is good and great in our society. Hopefully arising out of this terrible tragedy we will become more inclusive and tolerant.
So my focus is going to be on the positive and uplifting elements in our society such as the enormously successful School Strike for Climate which was overshadowed by the shocking tragedy Christchurch.
In Thames, a small town of around 7000 people, around 150 students marched through the central business district displaying amazing passion and integrity.
Local students skilfully organised the protest themselves and sent a powerful message to Thames residents, the Mayor and Council and the wider community that our political leaders must take much stronger climate change action. They made us proud.
“It was a jarring contrast of hope and hate to have the dark events in Christchurch so closely follow the bright light of the school climate strike.”
To the young people who organised and participated in the School Strikes for Climate, you gave us hope on a dark day. You stood for hope and for the future, united across cultures, across religions and united around the world.
Together we must keep that hope alive and stand for peace and cooperation. As a nation we must grieve, but let’s also make sure that love and hope beats hate and ignorance.”